Two Million Tusks are named after the one million elephants killed during 100 .... This study involved making enquiries about ivory lots to a number of auction ...... exceptions we have numbers saying that more than 350 LAPADA members ...
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Ivory: The Grey Areas A study of UK auction house ivory sales The missing evidence

TWO MILLION TUSKS 100 Years of UK Ivory Trade = Over One Million Elephants Killed

Contents Two Million Tusks


The Ivory Trade


Executive Summary


Study 1 - Testing Whether Auction Houses Provide Proof of Age for Ivory Items


Pilot Study


Main Study

9 11

Combined Studies

Study 2 - Records of Ivory Sales at Auction Houses Across the UK


Study 3 - Three Year Analysis of Ivory Sales at a Leading Auction House








Published October 2017 ©Two Million Tusks

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Two Million Tusks Two Million Tusks (TMT) are a small team of concerned citizens. Having individually been involved in anti-ivory campaigning, they decided to join forces to investigate the amount of ivory being traded by auction houses in the UK and the extent to which the trade was illegal. Formed in 2016, the team was quickly noticed by leading elephant conservation charities, who are fully supportive of them and this revealing report, which has been prepared in the public’s interest to share information and assist the ongoing debate on the UK ivory trade. Two Million Tusks are named after the one million elephants killed during 100 years of the modern UK ivory trade1. Chief Inspector Martin Sims, Head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, (NWCU) is also supportive of this study: “Two Million Tusks have highlighted significant issues within the antique industry whereby many auction houses try to sell ivory without even knowing the law nor the provenance/proof of age of the items they are trying to sell.” Report Authors This report was independently researched, funded and voluntarily prepared by Jane Alexandra, Louise Ravula, Susie Laan and Pete Matthews. Jane Alexandra and Louise Ravula were invited to take part in the Antiques Trade Gazette ‘Round Table’ ivory discussion in the summer of 2016. Following this meeting they decided to test the theories put forward by the meeting attendees:

“With ivory there isn’t a situation where we ask ‘is it 17th century or is it 20th century?’ Connoisseurship allows for that knowledge.”

TMT will test the auctioneers’ ability to confidently age pieces of ivory. “The fact that a few are acting inappropriately is not a reason to penalise the other 97%.”

TMT will test the market to see how many auctioneers are acting inappropriately. “The members of our trade bodies must show that CITES is rigorously adhered to, that those rules in place are honoured absolutely and offer no defence for anyone who tries to break them.”

TMT will test the market to see if CITES rules are being rigorously adhered to.


“An estimated 30,000 tonnes of ivory moved out of Africa into the UK between 1860–1920 and the tusks from at least 1 million elephants became household products for a rapidly expanding middle class.” - Tom Milliken, TRAFFIC’s ivory trade expert

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The Ivory Trade #JoinTheHerd conducted a survey which found 79% of UK adults think it is already illegal to sell ivory here in the UK2 and that 85% think the UK ivory trade should be banned. This is unsurprising as the trade in ivory is largely absent from the high street and seen only by those attending auctions and frequenting antique shops. Ivory is most prevalent online, available through auction house websites and sites such as Ivory – A Brief History Ivory has been imported into the UK for centuries: “The evidence in Dutch and